SUMMARY OF CFA 9thTRIENNIAL REUNION
Sept. 16-19, 2021, Norwich, CT
The Theme: "Coming Home to Our Roots”.
Thursday, Sept. 16: Meet & Greet at Holiday Inn in Norwich with about 45 in attendance. Cousins registered and received goodie bags containing items pertinent to the Calkins family and to COVID. Appetizers and a cash bar were provided, as well as the opportunity to mingle with cousins. Reunion booklets with everyone’s photo and a bit of information about each one proved to be real hits, as we tried to get as many signatures as possible.
Friday, Sept. 17: Bus tour of various historic sites: Cedar Grove Cemetery (grave of Frances Manwaring Caulkins); Shaw Mansion (home of New London Historical Society); Old Town Mill (Hugh and John Calkins both worked there). After a box lunch at the mill, we continued on to the Norwichtown Burying Ground, where we saw the stone the CFA laid in2003, honoring Hugh, Ann, John and Sarah Calkins. We laid flowers at both cemeteries and gave tributes to our ancestors. Finally, we visited the Hugh Calkins House, which we were able to tour.
We held a dinner that evening at Prime 82. Cousins gathered for a social evening, followed by a business meeting.
Election of officers was held. The slate included the following nominees:
President: Melissa Calkins
Vice-president: Nanette Armstrong
Secretary: Marjorie Edwards
Treasurer: Maggie Calkins
Board members: Christopher Calkins, Jr., Johnathon Calkins, Keith G. Calkins, Tony Calkins, Judie Schiel.
The new Board was voted in unanimously.
Saturday, Sept. 18: Leffingwell Inn was the site of a Benedict Arnold and George Washington living history presentation. Most of the cousins gathered for this, as well as a tour of the Inn, which is now a museum. The CFA was welcomed by Dayne Rugh, President of the Leffingwell. Another presentation was held later, put on by the Flock Theater of New London, highlighted by the delivery of Benedict Arnold’s “leg” to the mayor, the so-called best part of Arnold as he had injured his leg while he was a patriot, before becoming a traitor and joining the British.
The highlight of the weekend was spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon and evening under a tent at the Hugh Calkins House. Following a light lunch, a dedication of the house was held. Opening remarks by Melissa Calkins were followed by a blessing by Cousin James Cooper and short speeches by Mayor Peter Nystrom, Senator Catherine Osten, and Representative Kevin Ryan. Norwich Historical Society officers Regan Miner and Bill Champagne presented us with a framed photo of the Hugh Calkins House, dating from the early 1900s. Following this, Nanette Armstrong spoke about the history of the house.
The dedication ceremony was followed by a raffle of two quilts, both donated (and one handmade) by Cousin Judie Schiel. Cousins Alice Hansen and Christine Bryant were the lucky winners. There was also Calkins merchandise available to purchase, and the empty rum barrel to sign. Those who had purchased bottles of rum were able to get them, courtesy of Peter Calkins. An Italian buffet, catered by Illiano’s, was enjoyed under the tent, and thus ended an historic and memorable day in the life of our family.
Sunday, Sept. 19: Cousins were invited to Melissa Calkins’ home for coffee and pastries, to wrap up the weekend. The Calkins library is temporarily housed at Melissa’s house, and there was opportunity to use it. The rum barrel had been brought back to Melissa’s home, and had the time capsule items displayed on top of it. Items donated for the time capsule, to be opened in 2040 (400 years since Hugh and family arrived in America), included coins from 2021; a copy of a letter from Susan B. Anthony to Lucy Hawley Calkins, a suffragette, along with a Susan B. Anthony dollar coin; a list of news highlights from the year; a couple of news articles; a group photo of the reunion attendees; a CFA mask and pen; and various other small items. A bottle of the Calkins rum was also donated, and will be kept alongside the capsule at Melissa’s home until we can safely move them to the Hugh Calkins House.
We said our goodbyes, and look forward to seeing each other again in 3 years! The next location seems to be in the Seattle area.